(Click on image to enlarge)
Amenhotep IV – better known as Akhenaten was one of the most historically profound pharaohs to rule Egypt. He led Egypt in a direction that would tag him “The Heretic Pharaoh.” He brought forth new ideas mainly in religion and art that would leave a lasting impression on the world. Unlike most pharaohs, Akhenaten presented himself in a way that would lead to controversy and would shock the world of his contemporaries.
My wife, Rose, mentioned to me how similar in visual imagery and symbolism Barack Obama was to an Egyptian pharaoh. She said, “Amenhotep”, at the same time that I said, “Akhenaten.” We were both on the same page, a phenomenon that often occurs after 42 years of marriage. Amenhotep, the ancient Egyptian pharaoh who reigned about 3,500 years ago, was an agent of CHANGE. “He made some major, but rather short-lived changes to various aspects of ancient Egyptian culture, the most notable one[s] being his religious [governmental, and artistic] revolution.” Upon his ascent to the Egyptian throne, he changed his name from Amenhotep (meaning Amun is Satisfied) to Ahkenaten (meaning Effective Spirit of Aten). “Akhenaten ruled in the eighteenth dynasty, which seemed to be an age of revolution in ancient Egypt. Only a few reigns before his had been the reign of Hatshepsut, the most famous (but not the only) female pharaoh.”
Akhenaten represents many things to diverse people--to some he personifies a fanatical lunatic, to others, he comes across as a strange, eccentric young man whose behavior was strongly influenced by his mother. Was he a Christ-like visionary and a mentor of Moses? Did he simply happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and have nothing to do with the dramatic reformations that went on during his reign? “Many early historians, determined to link Akhenaten's religion somehow to the Jewish religion, said that he was inspired by Joseph or Moses (Redford, p. 4, 1984). This is a possibility, considering that Joseph, at least, was around in roughly the same time period as Akhenaten. However, after close examination of Akhenaten's religion, this hypothesis seems unlikely. Akhenaten's religion did center on one god, but his major emphasis was on the Aten's [the Sun] visibility, tangibility, and undeniable realness. Akhenaten placed no emphasis, therefore, on faith.
According to John Tuthill, a professor at the University of Guam, Akhenaten's reasons for his religious reform were political. By the time of Akhenaten's reign, the god Amon had risen to such a high status that the priests of Amon had become even more wealthy and powerful than the pharaohs.”-- by Megaera Lorenz.
Another similarity to Akhenaten is Obama’s open demonstration of his love for children. In the above stone relief, (a), Akhenaten, in a un-pharaoh-like depiction, is shown with Nefertiti and two of their daughters, as loving parents. He broke the conventions of Egyptian art by showing himself in intimate family scenes with his wife and children, and portraying himself and the rest of the royal family in a much more human and naturalistic manner than any of his predecessors had. Obama also demonstrates convincing affection for his children. No doubt, we could find more similarities between the two charismatic world leaders, such as Middle Eastern/Arab phenomena, etc. As Obama’s administration unfolds, let us hope that this “reincarnation” is not a history-repeating drama. After Akhenaten died, the opposition (the powerful priests of Amon) changed the Egyptian religion from the worship of Aten to that of Amon and the many local gods. They abandoned his newly built city of Amana, and tried to erase all evidence of Akhenaten from Egyptian history.